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My daughter visited me this past week and she brought her talents along with her. And those talents are her organizational genes.

She loves organizing and winnowing, letting go of things that no longer serve their original purpose, creating environments that feel spacious and beautiful.

I have a walk-in closet that was no longer walk-into-able (some of you might be familiar with what I’m talking about), and I have a few kitchen cabinets that are packed with duplicates of spices and cooking oils that were past their “best by” dates.

I look at the closet and the cabinets and just feel overwhelmed. My daughter looks at them and wiggles with excitement about getting to winnow and organize. So, I let her at it. Truth be told, we got to the closet but not the cabinets before she had to leave.

But, wow, oh wow. The closet is a total makeover. And, of course, I didn’t get a good before picture to really prove the point.

Nonetheless, I had to wonder why an orderly space makes our brains so happy. So, I googled it. I stumbled onto an article at RealSimple.com that had some good insights about cleaning and organizing your home or work space. If our environment is cluttered or dirty, it’s difficult to not internalize that.

Another insight from the article that particularly spoke to me came from a former PR exec, turned Zen Priest. She writes:

“If you are practicing avoiding difficult things in one area of your life [like cleaning the closet], you do that everywhere.”

There’s a lot of truth to this. Without realizing it, once the closet was cleaned, I easily tackled several other things I’d been putting off. Things like making several doctors’ appointments I’d been avoiding (one involves putting chemo cream on my face to treat pre-cancerous spots and it’s going to hurt like heck, and yes, I’ve been avoiding it. You probably won’t see me on camera for a few weeks once I turn bright red and start peeling!

This week’s message to Encourage Your Brain is: “Practice NOT avoiding!”

Choose ONE thing in your life this week—whether it’s organizing a drawer that’s gone rogue, having a difficult conversation you’ve been putting off with someone, or tackling a piece of work that’s felt daunting. Then observe what happens.

Also, notice that “Practice NOT Avoiding” is a very different message than “Just Do It.” “Practice NOT Avoiding” is a reframe that shifts us into learning mode, adds a sense of accomplishment, and gives us a sense of self-worth in the process.

Ok, bye for now … I’m off to practice not avoiding my afternoon exercise.

Light and Love to all,